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Meditation Within ALL the World’s Religions: Info and Resources

October 14, 2008

Since I recently did a post on meditation from a medical perspective, and one on the many different types of meditation, I thought I would round out the series with a post on spiritual and religious meditation. Many people associate meditation with Far Eastern religions like Buddhism and Hinduism, and don’t realize that there are also many forms of Judeo-Christian meditation, as well as meditations from other faiths. Below is an overview of meditation as it is generally viewed within each major religion, and links to resources with more info. By including these links I am NOT endorsing the teachers or authors associated with these sites (most of whom I don’t know) – just the information on the sites.

  • In Buddhism, observing and stilling the mind are the key to recognizing the transience of all thoughts and emotions, opening the doorway to enlightened mind. Two good resources for learning more about Buddhist meditation are Buddhanet and WildMind.
  • In Hinduism, meditating is the core practice for merging the mind with the energies operating beneath the physical world, through which the mind can ultimately merge with the source of these energies itself. Meditation is considered part of yoga practice – yoga means ‘union’ and meditation is considered the primary method for merging our awareness with the divine. Two good resources for learning more about yoga and Hindu meditation are the Sanatan Society and What is Yoga?
  • In Kabbalah, often called Jewish mysticism, a form of meditation called ‘hitbonenut’, which involves contemplating a concept or light itself, is used to attain true, meta-intellectual knowledge. A good resource for learning about basic Kabbalastic meditation is LearnKabbalah. A good site for learning more about incorporating meditation into mainstream Jewish traditions is The Awakened Heart Project.
  • Eastern Orthodox Christianity incorporates the ‘hesychasm’, or Jesus prayer, performed in a meditative, chanting fashion, in order to connect with the heart of faith. For some more info, go to The Jesus Prayer or Hesychasm.
  • Roman Catholicism includes contemplative practices such as the rosary for lay people, and many silent contemplative practices for monastic initiates. St. Theresa of Avila was one of several Catholic mystics who wrote on the benefits of mental prayer. Here’s an interview with a former Trappist monk on the benefits of meditation for Christians, or you can learn more about Jesuit meditation as represented in the teachings of Ignatius Loyola.
  • In Quaker meetings participants sit in silence, waiting for the ‘inner light’ to inspire someone to speak. Learn more about Quaker Silence or check out an essay by Mary Coelho, a modern Quaker and writer.
  • Taoism is the ancient Chinese mystic tradition and philosophy focused on balance and the interacting forces of yin/yang, passive/aggressive, masculine/feminine, and creating/receiving. Tai Chi is often considered a form of moving Taoist meditation. Sitting Taoist meditation focuses on similar themes of balance and flow.
  • The Bahai faith, a relatively new religious tradition, founded in 19-century Persia, emphasizes the spiritual unity of all humankind and the common themes of all world religions. Learn more about the Bahai faith, or check out this information on meditation within the Bahai faith.

If you are interested in learning more about a particular spiritual tradition, check out this book list: Introduction to the World’s Spiritual Traditions. Or, for more books on meditation within different traditions, go to this booklist at my teaching site.

Of course nowadays, there are many other forms of meditation that are taught entirely outside of any religious context. I encourage you to trust your intuition and explore whatever form you are drawn to!

7 Comments leave one →
  1. October 24, 2008 1:06 pm

    The information on this post provides good explaination to the word meditation and mindfulness. I like especially the Buddhism and Hinduism perception. Your blog post is always informative, keep it up.

  2. mommymystic permalink*
    October 24, 2008 11:24 pm

    Azhagiya – thanks for your comment, glad you liked the post…

  3. October 29, 2008 5:29 am

    Hi mommymystic from Melbourne, Australia. I am being a tad naughty as I am at work and have a million other things to do.. but the sun is shining outside and I felt in search of some soul nourishment. I found your site. And I really enjoyed this first article that you wrote on on meditation within all the world religions. I have meditated since I was at school, stopped and started as you do, and in recent years started to teach meditation as a practical, beautiful and simple ‘life tool’. How do people thrive without a stillness practice? .. I just wanted to say I like your site and will at another time come back to indulge again. Would you allow me to post your article on my blog? of course I shall make full disclosure on who/what/where.. I shall await your thoughts on this. Wishing you stillness and a quiet mind. Happy blogging! Sarah, Quiet Mind Meditation

  4. mommymystic permalink*
    October 29, 2008 5:31 pm

    Sarah, I am glad you liked the post and site, and of course you can share it on your own site. The more people sharing things like this the better!

  5. October 31, 2008 1:36 am

    Just found your site and LOVE it. Have been searching for a while now for unique women’s sites, esp. those with Buddhist leanings. Glad to find this one here. Very nice, insightful posts. Women’s spiritual journeys with an interfaith approach are my passion. I have a new book out in this genre and wondering if you might be interested in looking at it to review. Your Truest Self: Embracing the Woman You Are Meant to Be. (Sorin Books, Oct. 2008) You can learn more about it at my site: http://www.awakenedliving.com. I do think it might be right up your alley. Some of the prominent women you refer to on your site are featured within its pages as “Holy Women” who can guide us into a deeper understanding of what it means to live as our truest selves. I would love to hear from you!
    Blessings,
    Janice Lynne Lundy

  6. mommymystic permalink*
    October 31, 2008 5:12 am

    Jan, I absolutely will look at your book, although right now I am reading Deepak Chopra’s novel of Jesus life, and planning to review it. After that I look forward to yours, and thanks for visiting.

  7. November 1, 2008 2:11 pm

    Hi MommyMystic,
    I just couldn’t help posting again after reading (and clicking through) your beautiful offering here. You have given us a great helpmate in this post. So much wonderful information here! I will enjoy coming back again and again to click through the wonderful resources you’ve compiled and shared. I taught World Religions to high school students for many years and I would have loved to give them a page such as this. For me, the spiritual journey has always been about how we are similar in our search for understanding and connecting with the divine. How are we more alike than different? How do we best honor one another’s path and connect with the heart and soul of each person—no matter their religious/spiritual preference?

    From a very young age (about 8-years-old, I believe), I had a strong awareness of the sacred in everything. Though I was raised a Protestant Christian, it seemed no matter where I went, what church, temple, or religious community I visited, I experienced the Sacred (yep, Sacred with a capital “S”). Being rather young and unworldly, so to speak, I thought everyone felt this way. Only later did I realize that people like me just might be perceived as a little odd. I haven’t written much about this before. Actually just now putting a lot of pieces of the journey together. Mid-life seems to do that to us, doesn’t it? Being inspired by your posts here, I fully intend to speak up and write a bit more about that. Our interconnectedness is so very important to me. I fully intend to do whatever I can to perpetuate that understanding between people.

    So I am going to do a post on my own blog soon about all of this and share your beautiful collection of interspiritual wisdom with anyone who comes. Thanks again for providing such an excellent resource! A gift, for sure…

    Blessings on your good work!
    Jan Lundy
    http://www.awakeisgood.blogspot.com
    http://www.awakenedliving.com

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